The Wedge of the San Rafael

The Wedge of the San Rafael
Someone has to live here, in the middle of desert beauty. Might as well be the Kellys.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hoo Boy

Me oh my, what a stinko booksigning on Saturday at the Deseret Book at 989 S. University Avenue in Provo! I'd been looking forward to this one, because it was my first booksigning at a Deseret Book Store, which in this area is the Big Dog. Weather was crappy, and it was a white knuckle drive through Price and Spanish Fork Canyons, but I knew this would be worth it.

Could I have been more wrong? I arrived early at the store, as I always do, but it wouldn't have made any difference. No one told the staff in the store that there was a booksigning! Sigh. I assured the person who was playing manager on Saturday that there was a booksigning, so they started clearing off a table while someone scurried away to call the real manager.

She returned to inform me that yes, there was a signing scheduled, but no one in charge had told them. Also, the books that were supposed to arrive via FedEx on Thursday hadn't arrived. Sigh squared. They did round up 12 books from various other Deseret Book Stores, and put those on the table. I had brought along a poster Cedar Fort has created. They found and easel and put that up in the entrance area.

Since I was already there - the signing was to go from 1-3 - I sat down and went to work. By 1:30, the 12 books were gone. I suggested that maybe they could drive to the very nearby Seagull Books and buy a few, but no, that wasn't an option, apparently. (Doesn't Deseret Book own Seagull Book?) I sat there a little longer, but felt a bit silly, since there weren't any books to sign. I left.

Crazy. Perhaps Deseret Book is just too big to care. Still, if I had been managing that particular outlet, and the books hadn't shown up by Friday (they were due Thursday), I'd have gotten in my car and driven TEN MINUTES to Cedar Fort and bought a few books. Initiative seems to be sadly lacking at that store.

So it was another white-knuckle drive home. At no point in this old, dreary business did I raise my voice to anyone; not my style. I'm not a writer who expects blue M&Ms in a Waterford dish, and shaved ice brought from the Andes by Inca runners, but at a booksigning I expect  a) a staff that knows there is a signing  b) actual books on the table to sign.  Doesn't seem like much, eh?

Of course, part of the problem was that the Saturday before, I had participated in a truly wonderful booksigning at the Cardston Book Shop, in Cardston, Alberta, run by father and son David and Randy Prete, so this miserable signing suffered by comparison. The folks at the Deseret Book on 989 S. University could take notes from the Pretes on how to run a signing.

I have two booksignings next Saturday, April 16: one at a Seagull Book in American Fork, Utah, from 1-3 p.m., and another at the Seagull Book in South Towne in Sandy, from 4-6 p.m. Seagull seems to be more on the ball, so I think they will be fine.

Sorry I'm complaining, but ineptitude makes me grouchy. It'll pass. Right now I'm making a few changes in the Christmas anthology collection I've written that will be out in November, courtesy of Harlequin. I'm happy with it. It's always more fun to be writing.

Still, though, a shout out to Earl and Afton Condie,who had heard about Borrowed Light from their friend Lella, read it, and bought 8 books for themselves and their children, all Wyomingites by birth. They're the kind of folks who make booksignings so much fun.


  1. Oh, Carla, I hope this sort of thing doesn't happen to you again, but in case it does ... Could the store have rounded up some stationery cards, or postcards, or something similar for you to sign? As a customer, I'd have been happy to have your signature to put *in* a book, even if I couldn't get the book that day.

    And speaking of which -- if someone like me, who is not likely to get to where you are, sent you an SASE and an index card, would you be willing to send it back signed? It would be such fun to store in one of your books! (Ah, but which one to choose???)

  2. Ann, I'd be happy to sign a card for you. I also have bookmarks for Borrowed Light, if you'd like me to sign the back of one.

    P.O. Box 264 Wellington, UT 84542

  3. Excellent; thank you! I bought Borrowed Light as an ebook, but perhaps a bookmark for it would be at home in my print copy of Here's to the Ladies.

  4. Hi Carla

    Sorry about your signing. There's nothing more frustrating than gearing up (especially emotionally!) for a signing and then having the bookstore drop the ball.

    We haven't met before but I have to tell you, I'm a huge fan! In fact, when people ask me my favorite authors, your name is always on the list. I believe I own your entire backlist ... a friend and avid reader travels on business and when she found out I was also a fan of yours, she used to haunt used bookstores on her travels for your older titles. I always know if I'm stressed with life, I can settle into one of your books for a guaranteed comfort read, much like Julia Darling's warm chicken noodle soup.

    I am also a writer for Harlequin/Silhouette (most recently for Special Edition and am working on my 38th book. I was so thrilled to read you've moved to Utah. I live in Cache Valley ... any plans for a booksigning up north so I can stop in to say hi?

    I had no idea you were writing for the LDS market in addition to your Harlequin historicals. Someone posted a review on Facebook and I rushed to Amazon to glom it instantly for my Kindle (and also sent to my Mom. I know she will adore it!). Though I'm stressed on deadline and with some upcoming family stuff, Paul and Julia's story was exactly what I needed. Sweet and warm and uplifting. I loved the LDS touches :)

    Thank you so much for the many hours of reading enjoyment you've provided me over the years!

    All my best,

    RaeAnne Thayne